HomeDa Birds NewsThe Case for Eagles Giving TE Calcaterra a Bigger Role

The Case for Eagles Giving TE Calcaterra a Bigger Role

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PHILADELPHIA – Like most modern NFL teams, the Philadelphia Eagles are primarily an 11-personnel unit on offense, lining up with three receivers, one tight end, and a running back on 71 percent of their snaps through 15 games.

Even when you factor in its nature as a complementary role, the production of that third receiver, be it Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus, or in-season pick-up Julio Jones just hasn’t been there for Philadelphia.

That group as a whole has complemented stars A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to the tune of 22 receptions in 39 targets for 220 yards and three touchdowns, far off the pace Watkins and the departed Zach Pascal finished with as the WR3 in 2022 (a combined 48 receptions for 504 yards and four scores).

It’s gotten to the point that perhaps 12 personnel (with either Jack Stoll or Grant Calcaterra added to TE1 Dallas Goedert) might be a better way to generate some added punch for Jalen Hurts.

It might be time to get Grant Calcaterra a more consistent role with the offense.

Ed Kracz/SI Fan Nation Eagles Today

The game plan dictated more 12 against the blitz-heavy New York Giants in a 33-25 win on Christmas Day, a season-high 48.6 percent in that personnel package to be exact (36 of 74 offensive plays).

Interestingly, Hurts was far more effective in 12 than 11. The Eagles quarterback was 11 of 12 for 121 yards in 12 or 13 (three TEs) personnel and completed just 13 of 26 attempts in 11, according to Paul Domowitch of JAKIB Sports.

The running game was also more effective in 12 personnel with running backs D’Andre Swift and Kenny Gainwell generating 117 of their 133 yards on the ground with an extra tight end in the game.

More so Calcaterra, a second-year player, showed signs of life as a receiver against the Giants, snaring his first two catches of the season in 14 offensive snaps, one off his season-high against Miami on Oct. 22.

“I think our staff does a good job in putting us in situations to be successful,” Calcaterra told SI.com’s Eagles Today on Thursday. “Our tight ends have a lot of trust in one another and we always feel like we can make things happen.”

Related: Eagles’ Matt Patricia Gives Inside Look at Jalen Carter’s ‘Rookie Wall’

The coaches may be starting to notice that as well.

“Grant’s throw, we had an action shot called and the defense didn’t give us the look that we wanted. You know, we ended up checking the ball down and he made a great play,” offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “It was like a 12-yard gain.

“All of those guys are very, very capable, and sometimes coverage dictates where the ball goes, and sometimes it’s intentional where the ball goes. It just goes to show, like you’ve got to be ready, right. I mean, it’s week whatever, and Grant has made some big plays throughout the course of his two years here, and you know, he was ready when his number’s called.”

It might be time to call No. 81 a little more than Watkins, who was essentially benched last week, Zaccheaus, who has been more of an off-schedule option for Hurts, and Jones, the future Hall of Famer who simply doesn’t have the burst he once had at age 34.

“It was cool to get a couple of balls thrown my way,” Calcaterra said. “I really just like being involved in any way I can and if that’s catching the ball, run blocking, special teams. So I just like to be involved and it’s good to see that Jalen trusts me to make  a play.”

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